Harriet Sherwood legitimizes Gazans’ complaints that they can’t enter Israel to sue the Jewish state

One of the most surreal accusations against Israel I’ve read was leveled in 2010, when, nearly 43 years after Israel reclaimed Jerusalem following the Six Day War, the newly rebuilt Hurva Synagogue was dedicated – a synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City which had been destroyed twice, in 1721 by Arabs, and then by Jordanians shortly after the 1948 War.

On March 15, 2010, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemned the rededication of the Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem as a “war crime,” and called on EU member states to boycott Israeli goods in protest.

Characterizing the rededication of a previously destroyed synagogue as a war crime, it seemed to me then, was simply beyond moral comprehension.

I think, however, that a recent story by Harriet Sherwood, Israel faces legal challenges on block of Palestinians exiting Gaza to sue state, Dec. 1, is nearly as incomprehensible.

Sherwood begins:

“An Israeli human rights organisation [Adalah] has launched a legal challenge to the state’s policy of denying Palestinians permission to leave Gaza to pursue claims for damages resulting from military action, which has led to dozens of cases being dismissed by the Israeli courts.

[Gazan] plaintiffs ‘live in Gaza City and are unable to enter Israel. Therefore, they cannot hold meetings with their lawyer or sign various documents in front of him. They cannot stand before the court to give their testimony, to prove their case…'”

Among the list of “plaintiffs” unable to sue Israel are Gazans who were injured, or people whose relatives were killed, during the assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in 2004.

Briefly, Ahmed Yassin founded the Islamic Organization in 1979 (which explicitly called for Israel’s destruction).  However, he is best known as the founder of Hamas in 1987, a group which gained popular support in Gaza because of its refusal to accept Israel’s existence – and adopted a covenant advancing antisemitic theories of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and a call to wage war against the Jews.

Though receiving two life sentences in Israeli courts in 1989 for planning terrorist attacks, and the abduction of Israeli soldiers (including the abduction and murder of IDF soldier Ilan Sa’adon), Yassin was released in a prisoner exchange deal in 1997.

During the 2nd Intifada, Yassin directed Hamas’ terrorist activity – including suicide bombing against innocent civilians.  

On March 22, 2004, Yassin was killed in an Israeli helicopter missile strike on his car in the northern Gaza Strip.

The argument that those injured (or relatives of those killed) as the result of Yassin’s killing should be able to sue the IDF in Israeli courts seems about as reasonable as suggesting that Pakistanis accidentally killed during US drone strikes on senior al Qaeda leaders in the mountains of Waziristan should have the right to sue the US government.

Would the US Justice Department even entertain the notion that such “plaintiffs” should have access to US courts to file lawsuits against the nation’s leaders? 

Well, Gaza is a hostile territory whose despotic government is openly at war with Israel and the notion that Gazans should enjoy the fruits of democratic institutions of a nation their government is attempting to destroy beggars the imagination.  

I suppose, by such logic, Israelis maimed (or relatives of Israelis killed) by rocket attacks from Gaza should have access to courts in Gaza City, in order to sue Hamas government and military leaders.

That, Adalah – an NGO, generously funded by the EU and NIF, which calls for a one state solution – is championing the cause of such Palestinians’ “rights” is, indeed, no more surprising than the legitimization of such incomprehensible legal and moral reasoning by the Jerusalem correspondent of a paper in a class of its own in the continuing media assault on Israel’s legitimacy.

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